TLC's 'My 600-lb Life': An Ethical Or Unethical Form Of Entertainment?
Start writing a post

TLC's 'My 600-lb Life': An Ethical Or Unethical Form Of Entertainment?

Captivated by the extreme lives that these morbidly obese people are living, I never stopped to think if TLC's My 600-lb Life may be problematic.

TLC's 'My 600-lb Life': An Ethical Or Unethical Form Of Entertainment?

I swear I'm not another Millennial who needs something to complain about, but TLC's ‘My 600-lb Life' may not be the guilt-free obsession that I once thought it was.

With over a month off this past Winter break, I had more than enough time to waste channel surfing. One morning, I had emotionally prepared myself for at least two hours of ‘The Hills' re-runs when I stumbled across a true diamond in the rough: TLC's ‘My 600-lb Life.'

I had seen snippets of it here and there but otherwise, I hadn't really given it much thought or attention. Within a few minutes of watching, my eyes were glued to the screen as 600-plus-lb people, sometimes families or couples, spent their days in bed gorging themselves with food.I was fascinated as to how these people allowed themselves to survive three to five times the average weight of a healthy human being and the psychology that fueled these behaviors. The thought that their skeletons are roughly the same size as everyone else's, yet they were carrying over 600 pounds, was unfathomable. The show goes through the trials and tribulations of morbidly obese people seeking weight loss surgery, showing their daily lives which often consist of laying in bed, showering and moving with assistance, and occasionally riding in the car (where most occupy the entire backseat).

One day when I was deep in the throws of another ‘My 600-lb Life' bender, my dad walked in and was, too, completely intrigued by the show. He was in awe that people of this size are able to (barely) survive.

While the show managed to garner his attention, he didn't have a review quite as glowing as mine. He thought the show was "exploiting fat people" and making them some sort of spectacle, as opposed to posing their struggle as a relatable experience.

Personally, I think the aim of the show is to provide insight into this population, showing what life is like in their bodies both mentally and physically. My dad didn't necessarily disagree with that idea, but he thought that TLC was milking the extreme experience of this population as a means of entertainment.

He thought the show portrayed these people as primitive, through editing that exposes much of their naked bodies and ultimately makes them seem disgusting. What bothered him the most was that these people almost always grew morbidly obese because of severe abuse, which isn't something that should be considered "entertainment."

Despite the flaws that my Dad found in the show, he too was fascinated and admitted to watching after I returned to school. While his ideas about the show make sense, I still don't think TLC intends to take advantage of the situation in a way that is disrespectful to these people. Instead, I see their mission as a means of reflecting the discomfort and challenges that come from being at such an extreme weight.

Either way, the show has forced me to question what I consider entertainment, regardless of how addicting any program may be. ‘My 600-lb Life' sheds light on a struggle that many are totally unfamiliar with, which is a trope of its own.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

I Rated The 6 Best Seasonal Dates So You Don't Have To Go To Pinterest For Your Next Holidate

My boyfriend and I have the best holiday date list prepared so you don't have to search Pinterest for your next idea!

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

I would just like to note that I am a little biased because they were all great dates, and I know he's going to read this. So here's a quick, little reminder that I love my boyfriend very much!

Keep Reading... Show less

With a huge sigh of relief, we can safely say that Joe Biden has won the election.

Keep Reading... Show less
Instagram: @greysabc

At the end of their last episode, "Grey's Anatomy" teased the return of another character from Meredith's past. After the return of Patrick Dempsey's, Derek Shepherd, Grey's fans know that no one is off-limits.

The return of these characters comes after Meredith was diagnosed with COVID-19 and began experiencing hallucinations of her loved ones.

Keep Reading... Show less
Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

I love listening to Christmas music just as much as the next person, but when I turn on my local holiday radio station each year, it just feels repetitive. No hate to musicians like Burl Ives or Nat King Cole, but Christmas music needs an update. Personally, I'm tired of the same "Let It Snow" and "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas". So plug in your Christmas tree, make some hot cocoa, and listen to these amazing (and updated) holiday songs.

Keep Reading... Show less

With the holidays right around the corner, there are many things to look forward to. Time with family, friends, great food, overall seasonal joy... And now the fragrances from Jennifer Lopez.

Keep Reading... Show less

10 Christmas Songs For Your Festive Playlist

I have no shame in starting to feel festive super early.


All of these songs are definitely popular. However, I have the strong opinion that having the songs on your Christmas playlist be popular is extremely important. Having everyone sing to the songs is most of the fun; it adds to the festivity of whatever you're doing.

Personally, I love to bake cookies and hum along as I cannot sing and no one should ever hear me. Whatever you do for the holidays, enjoy your festive time and the season!

Keep Reading... Show less

5 Movies And TV Shows That Got Mental Illness Right​

There is a very fine line between representation for mentally ill people and demonizing them for the sake of entertainment. Hollywood has a tendency to sensationalize mental illness, but these shows and movies got it right.


At the risk of being dismissive of all the progress we've made, mental health representation is still seriously lacking. Many shows fall into the traps of making their mentally ill character violent, making professional help seem useless, or making characters who don't reflect the reality for people living with mental illness.

Keep Reading... Show less

10​​ Songs That Made It Onto My November Playlist

Another month of finding new music during unusual times


A new month means new music! Like each month, I've collected my top 10 new songs or discoveries into a playlist. This November didn't have too many new releases, however, I did find a few and a couple of new discoveries.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments